April 21 COVID 19

600,000 people out of a job, 1.6 million with no income from work: ABS estimates the initial cost of coronavirus. ABC

Taking time to notice nature . . . will improve your well-being. The Conversation

The Greek god Eos was sister to the sun god Helios. Every morning, Eos rises from her golden throne, opens the gates of heaven and announces the coming of the sun and a new day. South America may not have had many equivalents to Eos but had planet of sun gods who demanded ritual, including human sacrifice.  Chasca, the Incan goddess of dawn and dusk, was consort to the sun god Inti. Symbolised by the planet Venus, her light nourished saplings and made flowers bloom. Chaska’s tenderness gave her an association with love (whereas Eos was sexually voracious).

Helios gives life to the earth, but Eos offers affirmation and aesthetic joy. With no need, so early in the day, to act or think of what to do next (hunt for food, dig for water, search for shelter, or make breakfast, go to work, look for a job), one can momentarily immerse oneself in the presence of nature. Through her quiet distances, moods of colour, slow time and air as fresh as it gets, Eos provides an opportunity to be present and not worry about anything for a while, to feel a connection to nature, to feel – full stop.

Eos is perfect for our current situation of LOCKDOWN

Alone on a beach dwarfed by a vast sea and sky, light spilling towards me little by little, the invisible can becomes part of experience. Perhaps, the most important invisible item is the felling of connection to this vast change taking place, night to day, darkness to light. Perhaps, just perhaps, the loss of income is put in perspective.

Sooty Oystercatcher

I feel close to the birds and animals I see: the usual pair of Brahminy Kites, the juvenile Osprey that has begun to appear with a parent, occasional dolphins and whales in season, the three species of wrens that flicker in the dunes. We share Eos, we are close. Empathy opens one up to all the changes about to happen. Nature is a healer and yet we are destroying it. Natural elements and processes and events are vanishing.

Today I read, ‘Taking time to notice nature – via a glance outside, tending plants in pots or gardens, or via green exercise – will improve your well-being. Appreciating nature and having access to it has never been so important.’[1] It’s not enough to glance, one must immerse and engage to get the benefits, and to gain awareness that might lead to action.

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My mother’s 90th birthday, the local school came to sing. She was very close to her young brother Fr Charles (clapping in picture) who was buried a few years ago on this day. My mother has never enjoyed a birthday since.

When I get back I ring my mother 94 today! Born the same hour as the Queen, in lockdown for another 12 weeks in her flat in a care village. I am meant o be flying out to see here soon. We sing a vigorous happy Birthday but she is lonely and feeling nauseous. No-one is allowed past the door. My brother lives five minutes away and leaves hopping for her by the French Windows.I love her dearly should write a poem for her. She was watching Mathew Bourne’s Swan Lake for men, hated it!

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I see a change in the scenery– two male roos have appeared, after months of just the female and the joey hanging close to our garden. Animals are individuals with unique behaviours, but humans rarely observe them enough to realise that. [2]

Male, female and joey watching Wyn put washing out

The mother and Joey approach closer than usual with the male behind them. Having lived so close to them I cannot eat them. There is an argument I used to make that Kangaroos are soft-footed animals that have evolved here with its thin soils and being soft-footed does little damage compared to hard-hooved livestock, which have caused such immense damage to ecosystems across the continent. One problem is how they die and the number of kangaroos necessary to replace meat production from sheep and cows is ecologically unfeasible.[3]

The joey, we have watched it grow from a skinny thing falling over its big feet.

The industry is huge; 5 million animals are slaughtered annually. Ten species of kangaroo and wallaby are exploited, nearly all for pet food, constitutes the largest form of wildlife exploitation in the world. The industry was justified as a necessary way of  controlling a ‘rural pest’.

The rival male approaches but with a few coughs is seen off

Mind you, there’s no shortage of kangaroos, they maximise reproduction through amazingly innovative strategies.  See my post  Eating Kangaroo? 

The dominant male can relax

And there’s no breeding season, the female is ready to mate as soon as herembryo resumes development.

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date:    21 Apr 2020, 09:58
subject:           RE: new museum comments
mailed-by:      chcc.nsw.gov.au
Hi John.

Thank you so much! I really appreciate you giving some thought to this. I love everything you suggest and totally agree. Thanks again and I love to hear about all your projects – I admire your energy! Best wishes

One suggestion I made: ‘One way of engaging the community is through the gallery and library network, via the creativity of artists and writers. Invite them to be involved in creating small exhibitions, displays, or giving talks, readings etc. based on objects in the collection. Photographers could borrow an object (sturdy one) and treat it in different ways. This approach can reveal the radical, the amazing, the poignant lives of artefacts, and can provide the storytelling and the novelty which seems to be what people want. After all, objects have meanings, design, and purpose.’

My projects! I have too many and no presence in the arts or literature scene, I’m not complaining. I have done in the past, as President of the Poets Union and as Artistic Director of the Bellingen Readers & Writers Festival. I now make work in various projects for myself and friends. I would like more people to get to know my work, but where should one’s energy go? I love working creatively, hate thinking about self-promotion and I refuse social media. Lately my efforts have been in nature conservation and most recently to keeping this journal.

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In the lockdown era, thirst traps and nudes are not only making a comeback, but are now a form of emboldened agency in Gen Z’s blossoming sexual liberation . . . Is mutual masturbation via Zoom sex? What separates the virtual from the real? [4]

I know what a nude is, but have never heard of a thirst trap. My teenage godson had to explain what a camel-toe was. I’m familiar with some of the issues, nude vs naked, art vs pornography, denigration of women vs celebration of their beauty and sexuality.

I guess there is more virtual sex, more binge TV marathons and more drug taking in lockdown. And we know from sales there is more alcohol being consumed. So are there more hallucinations?

It was rather interesting because this Covid hits you suddenly out of left field. For me, first came a catatonic tiredness, I slept more and more, punctuated with very very high temperatures going well above 40 and icy legs, no cough. Very suddenly I had visions of snakes and Bruegel-like figures and fantastical creatures.[5] The V&A Museum director Nicholas Coleridge saw medieval art, what would you see?

I had visions of colourful elves dancing on the pillow when I was about 6, with a very high temperature, so high I used to fit. I was in my parent’s bed and saw them dancing happily (as elves do – more than half of Icelandic people believe in Elves[6]). I told them to put the light on, when they did the elves would disappear, I made them do this a number of times, because large elves dwarves? started dancing on top of the wardrobe.

Last night I dreamt I was in a large old fashioned arts complex with my friend Andrew who was taking me to see a esoteric performance. He sees snakes all the time on his spiritual journeys, A few months ago he took Ayahuasca under guidance, a potent psychoactive brew in which he saw a huge terrifying snake and had an out-of-body experience.[7] Vomiting and diarrhea are customary as well. Since then he takes San Pedro (mescalin) again with a guide. He finds these powerful, uplifting and energising experiences. The world and humans within are wonderful and strange.


I ring my mother again. It is painful knowing she is in lockdown. No-one is allowed into her flat. She has had a reasonable day, sad about her brother, not feeling very well (‘tummy upset’) too tired to open the presents left at her door. The manager of ‘the extra care village’ rang to say happy birthday but never asked how she was or she was coping. Half the deaths from the virus are in care homes, but my mother is ready to go. I wish I had a blue pill, she says, I’d say Goodbye Vienna. I am uncertain why she needs a blue pill or where the phrase comes from. She doesn’t know. And with my flight cancelled, I don’t know when I can get over to the UK to see her.

[1] Lucy Taylor, Dieter Hochuli, Erin Leckey, ‘3 ways nature in the city can do you good, even in self-isolation’, The Conversation, April 21, 2020

[2] See Jan Aldenhoven and Glen Carruthers, ‘Kangaroos – faces in the mob’, ABC TV November, 1992.  Or James Mollison’s large scale but intimate photographic facial portraits of orphan gorillas, chimpanzees, orang-utans and bonobos. ‘Face to Face’, Natural History Museum, London, Summer 2005. He uses a medium format camera from 70 cm away.

[3] http://www.australiansocietyforkangaroos.com/not_so_green.html

[4] Ciara Gaffney Sex during lockdown: are we witnessing a cybersexual revolution? Guardian 21 Apr 2020,

[5] V&A Museum director Nicholas Coleridge, Today BBC Radio 4, 21.4.2020.

[6] https://www.nationalgeographic.com/travel/destinations/europe/iceland/believes-elves-exist-mythology/

[7] This drink has used traditionally for spiritual and religious purposes by Amazonian. An experienced shaman (curandero) leads Ayahuasca ceremonies The main hallucinatory ingredients are Banisteriopsis caapi and Psychotria viridis.